TOP NEWS and HEADLINES in March
- McCarthy Reintroduces Hearing Aid Tax Credit with Solid Backing
- Aging Brain May Contribute to Some Hearing Loss
- Video Arcades Causing Hearing Loss, Tinnitus
- UK Study Offers Clues to Beating Hearing Loss
- Proteins Linked To Congenital Deafness Help Build, Maintain Inner Ear Stereocilia
- Victor Bray to Co-Edit ADA’s Audiology Practices
- Ida Institute Launches Patient Journey Tool
- Tectorial Membrane Shown to Play More Active Role in Hearing
- Regions of the Brain Can Rewire Themselves
- Cochlear Implant Surgery Safe for Elderly
- Hearing Loss Gene Found
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- Does the brain trade hearing for touch? Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Va, have discovered that adult animals with hearing loss actually reroute the sense of touch into the hearing parts of the brain. A phenomenon known as cross-modal plasticity—the replacement of a damaged sensory system by one of the remaining ones—is reported in a study in the March 23 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this case, the sense of hearing is replaced with touch. “One often learns, anecdotally, that ‘grandpa’ simply turned off his hearing aid because it was confusing and no longer helped,” says principal investigator Alex Meredith, PhD, of the VCU Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. “Our study indicates that hearing deficits in adult animals result in a conversion of their brain’s sound processing centers to respond to another sensory modality, making the interpretation of residual hearing even more difficult. Whether this becomes a positive feedback cycle of increasing hearing difficulty is currently under investigation, but these findings raise the possibility that even mild hearing loss in adult humans can have serious and perhaps progressive consequences,” Meredith says. The findings provide clinicians with insight into how the adult brain retains the ability to rewire itself on a large scale, as well as the factors that may complicate treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
- SLC17A8 hearing loss. A gene identified by scientists from the United States, Germany, and France is associated with the newly identified type of hearing loss. The SLC17A8 gene causes a previously unidentified type of congenital hearing loss, characterized by diminished ability to hear high frequency sounds. The degree of hearing loss and at what age it appears vary from one individual to the next. One direct result of the discovery is that a simple screening for the gene can identify a disposition to the specific type of hearing loss associated with SLC17A8.
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